Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gentleness

I mentioned in my thoughts about shepherding that a major thought in my heart and mind lately has been the trait of gentleness.

First, I revisited a couple of previous posts on gentleness here and here. Just reading those thoughts was helpful! And, created a quietness in my heart that I long to have there all the time!

Recently, I've been thinking more about gentleness and how I treat my family and come across to them. Are the words I say dripping with gentleness or is there an edge to my voice that betrays my true struggle and frustration?

I've been thinking about gentleness in regard to the way I dress, the meals I fix for my family, my attitude and my home.

One Saturday afternoon, I watched Miss Potter and found myself stirred to choose gentleness. Her portrayal in the movie is one of gentleness ~ it is not that she is always soft spoken, but I sensed a gentleness in her manor.

I admired the charming home she chose in the Lake District and began to imagine what a life there would have been like. Then, I brought myself back to reality and tried to imagine how to create a life like that where I am right now. I love solitude and find it refreshing ~ there is something about her life in the country that beckons me. It has a gentleness surrounding it that often our lives today are lacking.

But, I can choose gentleness and I can pursue it no matter where I live or what time in history. Immediately after that, I got up off the couch and began to pursue this. I was still in my pj's ~ so that was my first step, I changed into something comfortable that made me feel gentle and feminine. With my dress on, I fixed my hair and put on some makeup and jewelry. These things are not necessary to gentleness, but I find they make such a difference to me.

When I am dressed in a way that makes me feel ladylike and feminine, it seems easier to pursue gentleness and allow it to permeate me. It makes me want to prepare special food for my family and make everyday moments beautiful.

That night I made cinnamon rolls for our Sunday morning breakfast the next day. It was such a pleasure to feel a spirit of gentleness inside and out allowing me to make choices for my family that were motivated by this attitude of gentleness.

My words were kinder, heart was happier, I was at peace. I know that it is more than just dressing the part - but I found that night, and have found multiple times, that what I wear is such a reflection on my attitude, my heart. When I feel ladylike, it really goes a long way in helping me feel gentleness and respond to that.

I guess these thoughts are two-fold: being a lady and living that out with gentleness in my home. In my heart and life, they are tied hand in hand.

Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Does your dress affect your gentleness or lack of it?

21 comments:

Bonnie said...

This is something that I have been thinking on too.
For me it was because I have been watching the All Creatures Great and Small series, and have noticed that James Herriot's wife Helen, oozes gentleness. I just saw a documentary of the show on youtube, and the actress said that Helen was the kind of wife "that made everything all right". And she does. If ever a wife had a reason to be disgruntled, it was her. Having your husband gone so much of the time, holidays or not, spending your honeymoon testing cows for T.B. and yet she is always welcoming, always there to care for him, and meet his needs, willing to help out and go on his rounds with him (he was a country vet, in case anyone doesn't know) and just happy in being his wife. (BTW, this is also exactly how James wrote about her in his books.) For me the kicker is that she was "a big girl". not heavy, but tall and sturdy, and yet she was a lady. Being a big girl myself, I tend to think that I can't be a lady because I am far being graceful, delicate, etc.
Now, I realize that I need Christ to impart gentleness, and I need to model myself after HIm, and not a character on the television, but at the same time, we can also learn by others examples. My husband works hard for us all day, and should be able to come home to a a gentle wife who simply wants to meet his needs, instead of being short,sharp,and wanting to hide in the bathroom for a few moments peace (as I may have done once or twice:0P)
I was praying daily a while ago that the Lord would give me a gentle and quiet spirit, but somehow fell out of the habit. I definitely need to pick that back up, because it can be/is a daily struggle, and isn't something that just "stays".
The biggest eye opener for me though, is how my children respond to it. Most often with Honey saying "Mommy, I just LOVE this day!" And Biscuit telling me "Mommy you're beautafee". I'll be honest and say those days don't come as often as they should.

As far as how we dress affecting our ways, yes, I believe it does. When I'm wearing jeans, I notice they affect my attitude. I'm rougher, I have an attitude to put it in a nutshell. So, I pretty much stopped. I have 1 pair, I wear maybe once a month, and thats usually because I have nothing clean to wear. Now, just wearing skirts doesn't necessarily change that. Just because I'm wearing a skirt, doesn't mean I'm dressed nicely. I can look pretty scruffy in a skirt and t-shirt.
I am working on replacing my old worn out t-shirts with button down shirts, because I've noticed that when I don't dress up a bit, I get less done. I feel lazy, and grumpy. When I'm dressed up, I feel more energized, more lady-like, and I have a more positive attitude. It's amazing what affects our attitudes when we sit down and think about it.
For me, taking those few extra minutes to look nice, go a long way.

I hope something in that jumble above makes sense, I'm not always good at saying what I want to. I am so thankful that you are willing to share your heart with us, and that we can respond back with what is on ours.
Blessings to you Monica!

P.S., you can watch some All Creatures episodes on you tube, if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Monica,thank you. tammyp

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

What beautiful and true words.
Blessings,
Nancy

Cheryl said...

great post today...as always.
I would say yes, that the way I dress may sometimes affect my gentleness. I know if I am feeling ill, I will stay in sweats all day or my pajamas and i am usually cranky. I guess sometimes when I feel ill my attitude might just bring everyone else down with me. It is all about choice. I need to choose to have that gentle spirit whether I am sick or not.
Thanks for sharing this today Monica. Hugs.

Kate said...

I too have been striving for a more gentle, quiet spirit. I find that yes, when I dress in a feminine manner it does have an affect on my behavior. I have to make a conscious effort every day. Thank you for this lovely post.

Anonymous said...

I guess I have never really thought of my choice of dress affecting my attitude. It all makes perfect sense though when you think about it. Think I'll go put something pretty on today :)
Thanks for the insight!
Kathy

Bevy said...

To answer your question about our dress reflecting a spirit of gentleness... I had to think about it.

I don't know if mine does... so I thought this morning I would give it a whirl, take the challenge and dress up a bit.

You might a get a laugh out of this one and obviously this tells you that I don't do it enough. But my two year old thought we were going somewhere today, because mommy was all dressed up. I remember my cousin once challenging me on this area as well, in regards to my "dress" reflecting biblical femininty. I forget so quickly. It seems that jeans & t-shirts are so "easy" to grab instead of the more feminine side of things. I so appreciate the "gentle" reminder, because my heart truly does desire a more feminine appeal. I guess if dressing this way helps... then we should do it more.

Now. In writing this comment I can tell you that my
"spirit of gentleness" has been tested at least twice. My daughter needed some diaper attention and my son found the computer and erased what I origanally wrote. I think I passed the test. But I wonder...two things.

Isn't it more of a heart thing? and can a "feeling" really help get you there?

I like the verse you shared. I will be pondering that one today...

joy said...

I love your post. I have been reading your blog for a while and it seems to me that you already are quite gentle. At least in thought. You are a deep thinker and I am too. I admire you so much. Thanks for having such a wonderful blog. Love, Joy

Jennie said...

I loved Miss Potter and also noticed her gentleness. I have noticed a change in me when I wear more feminine clothing. I mostly wear jeans but have tried wearing dresses on a regular basis several times. My husband loves it. I find that I tend to add extra special touches like a flower at each persons place at the table, or make a nicer dessert, or clean up the house a little more. I have also had a gentler attitude and disposition.

Denise said...

I appreciate your words and the thought behind it. This is a challenge to me to be more gentle. I am a very independent person, and, though there is nothing wrong with that itself, I do tend to be overbearing in many areas in my life. I am challenged to step back and try to incorporate your words in my manner. Thank you for sharing what's on your heart.

I enjoy your blog!

angie said...

Wait! I never realized that about myself until you made me think on it. I am more gentle and soft spoken when I am dressed, say for church or a special occasion. That is a wonderful observation. Maybe I need to be mindful of that during a difficult day.

Stacey said...

I was just praying for grace, gentleness, and all that comes with it last night.

I have never connected the two, but certainly, I will now! Thanks for the insight.

Regina said...

Monica,
What a great post. Yes, the way I am dressed can dictate my attitude. I laughed when I read where Bonnie wrote that she needed to wear more button down blouses. I wore one today and have actually felt different. I'll be praying for a more gentle heart and spirit. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.
Regina

Beth Niquette said...

THat is just lovely. One of the fruits of the spirit that stand against just about anything.

I appreciate what you wrote very much this morning--especially the thought of right now--how does gentleness reflect in my life this moment.

Hattie said...

Monica,
Your heart spoke to my heart!
I am 66 and consider myself fairly gentle, but I still needed the reminders about gentleness. My prayer is that I will be "calm, serene, and gentle." Thank you for this post today. You always have an encouraging word.
Hattie

Anonymous said...

For me, this focus on gentleness couldn't have come at a more appropriate time! Thank you for sharing. Lately, I find myself turning in for the day, feeling very disappointed in myself and my lack of gentleness.

There is so much in the way of creating wonderful memories with my family that I desire to do. Above all, I am hoping to use all the little moments of the day to teach naturally and genuinely about the LORD and faith in Him. However, it seems like in the fullness of the days with all the laundry, dishes, cooking, teaching, training, cleaning, planning--I get lost in all the tasks and become so goal-oriented, that I am finding it hard to give the gentle answers I desire to give. I have been feeling really discouraged and your post was used of the LORD to encourage me this evening. :)

Regarding dress--I know it has a profound effect on my outlook. I have my entire life been more comfortable and "happier" in skirts and dresses. It will sound silly maybe, but in a skirt or dress I *feel* pretty and feminine and it affects my attitude. I literally feel more inspired to bake and cook, etc. With the exception of when I wear "grubbier" clothes for cleaning the bathrooms, I try to "dress up" because I find I am actually more productive. For several years I wore jeans more, because I always received negative comments about being "too dressed up" all the time. In the past few years (maybe getting older?) I have just decided to be who I am more comfortable being--who God made me!

It is so fascinating to me to read that others of you have experienced this same thing, regarding dress--I have never really discussed it with anyone previously. :) The interesting thing is that my daughter does not like to wear anything but dresses--even when we hike as a family, she wears trousers beneath her dress. I never tried to instill this in her, but she seems to come by it naturally, as I did.

My comments, for what it's worth...

Sincerely,
Mrs. Rebekah S.

Sheri said...

Mmm... so true Monica. It's funny, I posted my thoughts and prayers on gentleness yesterday, regarding "speaking to my family." Oh how I pray I would reflect our Father's heart through my gentleness.

debra said...

Great post. I also strive for this each day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Natural Mama said...

I have been thinking about this as well and have really been trying hard to implement a kind spirit to those I love most: my family.
What a timely post and a wonderful read.

rachaelnz said...

That's a beautiful post, Monica. Thanks for the encouragement to be gentle, it's something I not naturally very good at!

Angelia in Tx said...

Hello Gentle Monica, catching up with you...I greatly enjoyed this post. This has been on my heart too and love reading these lovely thoughts. smiles , Angelia